As of Saturday, at least 38 people in the Chicago area and central IL had been hospitalized for severe bleeding after using synthetic marijuana. "The health effects from using synthetic cannabinoids can be unpredictable and harmful-even life threatening", the statement read. They said it came in sealed containers with names like Blue Giant and Crazy Monkey.
The samples tested positive for brodifacoum, a widely used pesticide used in rat poison and highly potent anticoagulant.
The number of fatalities in connection with the outbreak is expected to rise, according to a statement from the Illinois Department of Public Health on Monday.
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is reporting the death of a second individual who experienced severe bleeding and reported using synthetic cannabinoids, often called Spice, K2, or fake weed.
Synthetic cannabinoids are sold in convenience stores, gas stations, drug paraphernalia shops, novelty stores and online.
Among the 56 IL cases reported as of Monday, 54 were reported from Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kankakee, McLean, Peoria, Tazewell and Will counties, and two cases are under investigation.
IDPH Director Nirav Shah says synthetic marijuana is not safe for anyone to use.
The Cook County sheriff's office is working with state officials to identify the source of the synthetic marijuana associated with the outbreak, said spokeswoman Cara Smith.
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There's not much information about the synthetic marijuana death, and Arnold said there won't be in order to protect the victim's identity.
K2 used by one of the people hospitalized was traced back to a convenience store in Lawndale called King Mini Mart, according to the Chicago Tribune.
"There could be additional deaths coming; it is hard to say", Arnold added.
During that time, physicians treated 456 patients total for synthetic cannabinoid intoxications.
In 2016, 33 people in Brooklyn were made ill from suspected overdoses of synthetic pot.
Arnold said that the Centers for Disease Control are sending epidemiologists to help in the investigation.
The store workers - Fouad Masoud, 48, Jad Allah, 44, and Adil Khan Mohammed, 44 - were charged on Monday after undercover federal agents said the men sold them synthetic marijuana, known as K2, according to a criminal complaint. These chemicals are also called cannabinoids due to their similarities to the marijuana plant.
"They include things like seizures, heart attack, kidney failure", said Lank, who was not involved in the recent synthetic cannabinoid cases.